LETTER FROM THE DEAN:
Dear Chapter Members,
What an odd season this has been! Like every other organization, we had to find new, creative ways to offer online programming for our 2020-2021 season while the pandemic prevented public gatherings.
Thank you for visiting the Greater Hartford
Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO)
The American Guild of Organists was founded in 1896 as an educational and service organization and is headquartered in New York City. Under the leadership of the National Council, a network of volunteer officials at the regional, district and local levels directs the activities of
the guild. The guild is divided into nine geographical regions; the
Greater Hartford Chapter belongs
to Region I (New England) and is one of the largest and most active chapters in the region.
Michelle Horsley, Dean
In response, we turned our sights to online activity by starting an YouTube channel, hosting Zoom social hours, and designing a new website. For each month between November and April, we created an online video / video series and explored programmatic topics that would have otherwise been difficult to accommodate in person. On this platform, it has been possible to share our community beyond the Greater Hartford area. This also provided a glimpse into our chapter for those folks who might not typically attend our events. We were able to share our own instruments, talk through pandemic perspectives and technology solutions, explore a few of our local organs in depth, and showcase (for the first time ever) the many organ students our chapter supports through the Jolidon Fund. At the beginning of the pandemic, our chapter was quick to create a relief fund to help organists through financial difficulty. For much of 2021, monthly social hours were held via Zoom to help connect with our community during times of isolation. And in April, we were able to support homegrown Hartford organist, Zachary Schurman, as he competed in a RYCO and is now eligible for higher-level competitions.
On Tuesday, May 25th, at 7pm we will be hosting our annual meeting via Zoom. This will be a time for reflection on the past year, election of new officers, budget vote tallying, and announcements about next year’s plan (which, God willing, will be in person). In addition to our recent programmatic tasks, the GH-AGO board has taken advantage of the past few months for bigger visioning about the future. What is our role in the community and how can we best fill it? How can we most effectively support organists, both new and experienced, and how can we expand our reach to partnerships outside our walls? How we can use our resources to lift up others through community building, educational opportunities, and fabulous music.
I am honored to have shared the leadership of this past year with our fabulous board: Christopher Houlihan, Susan Carroll, Benjamin Straley, Scott Lamlein, Bob Bausmith, Noah Smith, and John Parsons. These leaders have embraced new ideas with open minds, discernment, and healthy challenge. I feel deep gratitude for our work together and I’m inspired by what’s possible. I’m also grateful to Vaughn Mauren and Benjamin Straley, our previous deans, whose leadership helped build a stronger foundation for what lies ahead. Much has been built and much can be built together. Let’s keep building.
25 May (7pm)
Held via Zoom. Link is posted on Facebook and emailed to members in mid-May.
RYCO Competition Submission
Zachary Schurman's submission for the local chapter competition (RYCO) of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Jolidon Scholar Videos:
A collection of video performances featuring organ students who are current or previous recipients of scholarships through the Jolidon Fund of the Greater Hartford AGO.
VIRTUAL ORGAN CRAWLS:
Explorations of several local instruments, guided by the organists that play them. These videos feature Trinity College, St. John's Episcopal Church, Asylum Hill Congregational, St. Mary's, and possibly more!
Interviews with local organists /music directors, discussing their response to the pandemic and what they've learned along the way. These videos feature conversations with Scott Lamlein, Jack Pott, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer, and Michelle Horsley.
An array of seasonal organ repertoire favorites, as shared by chapter members on their instruments, featuring John Parsons, Michelle Horsley, Scott Lamlein, Jonathan Reuning-Scherer, Peter Niedmann, Kari Miller, and Cheryl Wadsworth.
Dexter Kennedy Organ Recital
A co-sponsored concert with The Music Series of South Church, this is a full-length organ recital offered exclusively online.
NOTE: Video uploads are staggered, so the dates above reflect when the videos will begin to be released online.
Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, You Tube Channel
Dean: Michelle Horsley
Secretary: Noah Smith
Treasurer: Bob Bausmith
Registrar: John Parsons
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